Saturday, November 20, 2010

Visit to Central Sikh Temple

It's a rare opportunity to visit a temple of another race. What's more, the Sikh Temple, when the Sikh community is not big here.

Went to the Central Sikh Temple at Towner Road (near Boon Keng Road) this morning to understand the religion or I would say, to know the ethnic group better.

Thanks to Mr Baljit Singh (I hope I got the name correct) for his patience and a very detailed explanation of the practices that many of us (outside the community) do not know.

Here are some thing(s) that I learnt this morning:

  • When entering a Sikh temple, one is supposed to cover the head (with a scarf, at least) and to remove their shoes. This is to to show respect to the teachings of the gurus. Why cover the head? Head being the most important and sacred part of the human body.
  • 3 key beliefs: (1) The teachings of the gurus (2) Hard work (3) Sharing
  • The Sikhs do not pray to any symbols or idols, but they listen to the teachings in the holy book, which was a compilation of 10 great gurus.

One interesting observation was that all the devotees who after they performed the prayer rituals, they would receive a spoonful of paste that was supposedly blessed (from the prayers, etc) - which was a paste made up of flour, sugar and ghee.

It seems like, there are several practices that revolve around equality:

  • All the devotees were to sit on the floor for their prayers, etc... which is lower than the main altar. Certainly, it's to show respect to the teachings of the gurus. On the other hand, it's also symbolic when everybody is on the same level ground - to symbolise equality.
  • Similarly, this applies to having a common 'name' in all the names - all men have "singh" in their name; similarly, all women have "kaur" in their name too - which symbolises brotherhood and sisterhood respectively; as well as equality in all.

The spirit of sharing is shown through the monetary donation made (be it 10 cents or a significant amount) as well as contribution of grocery and food to be used for meal preparation for the devotees who visit the temple.

Indeed, felt the hospitality of the community... not only Mr Baljit Singh, but also, in particular, the lady volunteer who served us the meal, getting the hot tea for us and keep checking if we were fine :) Thank you for the thoughtfulness :)

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

They suppose to wash their feet and hands too before entering! Just found out today. :)